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Yaesu FT-891, your thoughts please

Discussion in 'Ham Equipment' started by TheBlaster, Mar 23, 2021.

  1. TheBlaster

    TheBlaster Well-Known Member

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    Casually thinking about a second radio here, maybe anyway... and this springs to mind. I love how it looks and is has the nice Yeasu features, triple conversion and the 3kHz roofing filters. Anyone experienced using one.. am interested in your thoughts. I have a 7300 but quite like the idea of a small portable radio that I can "grab and go" without lugging a clumsy go box with the 7300 in (15kgs worth)

    I am also interest if anyone know is this radio is going to be imminently superceded by some new whizz, bang pop... Yaesu radio.


     

  2. Riverman

    Riverman Old Member

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    Have one.
    Love it.
    Case closed. :D
     
  3. NightThumper

    NightThumper Sr. Member

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    Had one.
    Liked it.
    Sold it.

    If you’re going to use it on 11 meter AM it’s not all that and I thought it sounded slightly muddy.
     

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  4. TheBlaster

    TheBlaster Well-Known Member

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    Yes SSB HF bands only here... interested in thoughts. They seem to have 70pct decent reviews online so that seems promising.
     
  5. groundwire

    groundwire Sr. Member

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    I have two. Love em.
     
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  6. FredTx63

    FredTx63 Well-Known Member

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    Great radios if SSB is your mode of choice, excellent DNR. Agree - like most Yaesu radios, AM sucks.
     
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  7. CDX8412

    CDX8412 Well-Known Member

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    I had two 891s (one in the shack, one in the mobile). They are a good radio for the price (especially when they are under $600).

    However...
    I sold them because I did not care for the menu operation of the radio. I also don’t care for Yaesu’s convoluted firmware update method that they have implemented on all their newer radios.

    in the mobile, it required too many button pushes for certain operations. Similar issues in the shack. Just not a great radio as your only HF rig is the shack.

    If you are looking for a rig for portable (grab-n-go) operations, you may consider the Xiegu HF rigs...either the G90 or X5105. I have both and really like them. The G90 is my shack radio (I like it much more than the 891) and the X5105 is my portable rig.

    Both Xiegu radios have internal tuners, so you don’t have to lug around an outboard tuner. The X5105 even has an internal battery, so I don’t really need a power source either. (it can actually be operated like a big walkie talkie since it has an internal mic, along with the supplied hand mic).

    Yes, they are not 100 watt rigs like the 891. I don’t find that to be a problem. I have heard people say that for decades, and questioned that statement, but it is true. It depends on your mode of operation, but the 20 watt Xiegu G90 will get you heard on phone. The 5 watt X5105 with work ok for QRP phone (if you are patient) and be great for digital modes and CW.

    But lots of hams use the 891 for portable ops, and it may work for you, so it wouldn’t be a bad rig. It is good to have options.
     
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  8. TheBlaster

    TheBlaster Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your insight. I feel hams on YT etc over play speech/phone QRP (along with antennas they have never even road tested daily for a few months, making blanket statements to get their video counts up - misleading) ... you are right you need patience and double that especially in weak conditions. If you go on YT you see hams making contacts QRP.. however they may establish with 100W/50W and then drop back the RF out.... "Look, see 10,000 miles on 5 Watts - I am the best ham there is ! "

    I suppose they are only trying to attract attention to themselves and to others to the hobby, but boy there is disappointment awaiting for new licensees with their 10Watts after seeing those vids. I am a realist.. not a fantasist. Maybe when the sunspots start waking up QRP will fair better (or just be blotted out by even stronger - massive power stations splattering all over your chosen freq, that is not fun).

    Or they are conveniently situated on the beach with the huge natural TX/RX assistance that brings.

    QRP yes possible when conditions are great. Overall it is not for me... I don't like getting battered from either side of the chosen freq 2 mins after starting to call CQ DX (even with 50W you get battered either side with bleed from stations who never even knew you were there.... all send no receive, deaf.)

    QRP is noble and respectable.. but it is rather mis represented on YT for example. If you have all day (or a month when the sunspots are down) QRP can be great I am sure and when you get through all the better for it.

    You see a 5 mins video of people making a transatlantic contact on 5W from a bicycle etc...but you did not see the 5 other days before they were out 12 hours trying for it.

    You need luck and patience, too much for me. I have done all the QRP I will be doing
    with my stage 1 licence.

    The goal here is not KW's but neither is it QRP - eventually "average Joe" radio power will do me.
     
    #8 TheBlaster, Mar 24, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2021
  9. Woody-202

    Woody-202 Sr. Member

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    I bought one in 2017, didn't really like it at first, and boxed it back up a few months later to sell. I changed my mind and decided to give it another whirl. From 2018-2020 it alternated HF duties in the shack with my TS-2000 and several other rigs that came and went over that period (TS-850, FT-991A, IC-738). Over time I grew to like it for what it was (HF-ONLY radio crammed into a small box with few knobs and lots of menus).

    I really liked:
    • Filter/filtering - Being able to adjust the bandwidth to my liking and not having to spend more money on individual filters.
    • The large display. If I was at the computer it was easy to see from across the room.
    • Price (I got it before COVID killed Hamfest's and Hamfest sales for a little over $500)
    • Easy to separate the head from body using common cabling that I could crimp myself. I had planned to move it to our 2nd vehicle until COVID ended the need for a 2nd vehicle.
    • Transmit audio. Every now and then I received unsolicited positive comments about the audio quality (using the hand mic that came with it).
    I didn't like:
    • DSP. It doesn't take much to get watery audio, and for the most part I left that feature OFF., Maybe I'm just not a DSP kinda guy...
    • NB. Adjustable - yes, but not particularly effective, and at times it seemed to distort SSB reception, so I ended up not using it.
    • Menu system. It just wasn't intuitive (for me), as opposed to other rigs I've used.
    • Band switching. It's a nit-pick but when changing bands if I paused (less than a second) or turned the dial too slow I'd find myself dropped on a band in-between where I was and where I wanted to be. I got the hang of it after awhile but it I would have preferred that Yaesu had done it differently
    • The receiver was noisier than anything else I was using* (the TS-2000, and for a time, an Icom IC-738, Kenwood TS-850, and Yaesu FT-991A*). It seemed harsh and became tiring to listen to for long periods of time.
    • Several times, enabled features didn't act enabled; toggling the feature OFF and back ON wouldn't help, and after trying everything else I could think of I'd end up doing a reset, then re-loading the configuration back on the rig. This only happened 3 times over that period.
    If you're looking for an HF rig with full output to put in the car there isn't much to choose from. Their only other rig, the FT-857D was discontinued in late 2019 (or early 2020. I can't remember exactly). Other than Icom's IC-7100 you have to buy "used". The FT-891 is frequently seen on the QRZ & QTH selling forums in the $450-$550 price range (I sold mine last month for $475).

    My two cents.
     
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  10. TheBlaster

    TheBlaster Well-Known Member

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    Good details thanks.
     
  11. binrat

    binrat WDX Club Coordinator
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    I operate portable KX2 only. Rarely with a 50 watt amp. Routinely into France from Alberta during SOTA activations. QRP or near QRP works well if done properly.
    I have not turned my IC7000 for over three years.
     
  12. TheBlaster

    TheBlaster Well-Known Member

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    Yes that path Canada - N Europe seems to be a relatively easy journey, (especially on grey line oddly enough) as long as the RX station has a massive beam facing your way of course.....my sole intercontinental trip to date with 10 Watts.

    SOTA -it definitely helps the Pseudo Brewster angle to be on a mountain. (y)

    QRP becomes as much about the RX station antenna and noise floor as your choice to QRP, they need low noise and a nice big directional antenna.

    The reality is QRP means more work, no two ways about it... harder to be heard, you get battered more easily by adjacent signals and you need persistence and a plan. And if there are no conditions forget it. And portable you are rather limited for antennas if you want to have nice predictable radiation patterns and efficiency. QRP becomes a much more effort based focus / practice.

    Hats off to those with the patience and thanks to those hams who bothered with those big dirty beams - so your QRP gets heard.

    When I think QRP, I don't think... "over and above skill set ham operators with miraculous abilities beyond those of others" I think big dirty beams doing the heavy lifting... pulling your weak signal from where would otherwise be buried.
     
    #12 TheBlaster, Mar 25, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2021
    binrat likes this.
  13. barefootindian

    barefootindian Supporting Member

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    You could if you were going to go portable use a Skyper type yagi beam wire antenna. They are according to the guys that make them the ideal choice for portable ops.
    Fishing poles and wire. Light enough for carrying around.
    Supposed to be as effective and on par with those dirty great beams you mention.
     
  14. TheBlaster

    TheBlaster Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your thoughts.

    My experience with portable is that it is best to be omni in TX and RX. Otherwise you can miss things.. of course you do not get gain in any given direction but you do have fast intercept speed for unexpected signals... that is a big advantage in some situations. As long as your RX is good with a good vertical you find things before others typically. Even before the lazy hams appear station after seeing it online and literally shouting right over the top of the DX station.

    LISTEN FIRST, then TX if you can hear the DX station.

    Shouting over the DX is a sure fire way to NOT make contact and make a queue of hams that are irate with your unskilled approach.

    Motorized beams are already slow to move, wire beams on poles are beyond my own practical limits for portable operation.

    I am now racking the international DX contacts fast even in these relatively weak conditions. I have my optimal antenna set up now and it is working incredibly well even with 100W. I have found my winning set up.
     
    #14 TheBlaster, May 23, 2021
    Last edited: May 23, 2021
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